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Towards a dialogical Theology: an exploration of inter-religious cooperation between Christianity and African Indigenous Religion among the Midzi-Chenda people of coastal Kenya

By Tsawe-Munga wa Chidongo


The ongoing global problems that adversely affect human society require re-dress, not only from a political perspective but also from the view of religions which are daily lived and practised by individuals and communities, seeking positive solutions for a more habitable earth. Africa, from its colonial legacies, has continually experienced disasters such as wars, droughts, famine, HIV and AIDS. All these have contributed to abject poverty and have affected the well-being of society, reducing the population to despair and hopelessness. Africa, however, is rich: more developed in her religions than in her economy. ‘You can not teach an African child about the existence of God’ (Dickson 1984). Nevertheless, in communities such as the Midzi-Chenda of Coastal Kenya, religion has become the cause of both religious and social exclusion. From the fear of condemnation, communities are hesitant to meet together as religious people in order to dialogue and address issues that persistently affect their lives. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between Christianity and African Indigenous Religion, with the purpose of discovering whether at the height of successive problems in Africa AIR and Christianity can agree to cooperate and together build a healthier society. This research is conducted among the Midzi-Chenda of Coastal Kenya, a community that has had diverse religious experience, whilst living with their multiple problems. Socially excluded by other religions, the Midzi-Chenda have been unable in solidarity to address their problems. The questions asked are firstly: ‘what are the historical causes for the religious rift?’ Secondly: ‘what possibilities can be found for achieving the cooperation which is essential for the two religious communities to be assisted to progress towards essential dialogue for life and action, and addressing the issue of community health?

Topics: BV Practical Theology, BL Religion
Year: 2010
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